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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 November, 2003, 11:06 GMT
Ibanez quits internationals
Raphael Ibanez
Ibanez signed for Saracens last June
France hooker Raphael Ibanez has announced his retirement from international rugby.

The 30-year-old played at the Rugby World Cup where France were beaten by New Zealand in the third-place play-off.

Ibanez said he wants to spend more time with his family.

He began his club career with Dax before moving to Perpignan and Castres and will play in the Zurich Premiership for Saracens this season.

"I told Jo Maso [France team manager] and Bernard Laporte [France coach] of my decision on the flight back from Australia," he said.

Ibanez denied that his decision had anything to do with France's failure to reach the World Cup finals.

"I know what it means to represent France as a player. From a human and sporting viewpoint there's no reason whatsoever that I should end my (international) career," he said.

"Despite the disappointing end to the tournament, I had a great time on and off the pitch during the World Cup. I gave everything I had for the team - but now I won't be playing any extra time."

He added: "Only one thing made up my mind - my family."

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